Written Answers. - Milk Pasteurisation.

Ceist:

87 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he has satisfied himself with the current regulations for the pasteurisation of milk in view of the fact that mycobacterium paratuberculosis may be present in some milk supplies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10374/00]

Based on the information available to me I am satisfied that normal pasteurisation methods applied within the Irish Dairy industry are sufficient to kill the bacterium referred to. It is my understanding that while the DNA of the organism can occasionally be detected, the mycobacterium has never been cultured from commercially pasteurised milk. This would indicate that commercial pasteurisation of milk kills the bacterium.

A recent report from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland does not recommend any alteration to the current normal pasteurisation methods. A study undertaken by my Department's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory last year failed to find any trace of microbacterium paratuberculosis in a total of 77 samples of pasteurised milk and 319 samples of raw milk tested for the organism. The results of studies and research in this area will continue to be monitored.